High cholesterol: The surprising seafood item to avoid if you want to lower your levels

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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The amount of cholesterol in your blood plays a role in heart health since high levels are a major risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. LDL, in particular, is a bad form of cholesterol that can build up on the inside of your artery walls. It can combine with other substances and create thick, hard deposits known as plaque. This is dangerous because over time, plaque can cause your arteries to stiffen and become narrow, setting the stage for blockage.

Shellfish such as oysters, mussels, crab, lobster, and clams contain large amounts of cholesterol, particularly in relation to their serving size.

For example, King crab legs contain 71 mg of cholesterol per serving, lobster contains 61 mg per serving, and oysters contain 58 mg per serving.

But the biggest cholesterol offender among seafood remains prawns.

A 3.5-ounce cooked serving of prawns contains 189 milligrams.

In comparison, the same size serving of salmon contains about 62 milligrams of cholesterol.

Although prawns and other shellfish do contain relatively high levels of cholesterol, they are low in fat and particularly low in saturated fat.

They also contain trace elements and minerals such as selenium, iodine and zinc.

This means that prawns are seen as an addition to a healthy diet however due to their high cholesterol they should be eaten in moderation.

Some foods naturally contain cholesterol, called dietary cholesterol. Foods such as kidneys, eggs and prawns are higher in dietary cholesterol than other foods, said the NHS.

The national health body added: “Dietary cholesterol has much less of an effect on the level of cholesterol in your blood than the amount of saturated fat you eat does.

“If your GP has advised you to change your diet to reduce your blood cholesterol, the most important thing to do is to cut down on saturated fat.”

Foods high in both cholesterol and saturated fat which should be avoided include:

  • Meat pies
  • Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • Butter, ghee and lard
  • Cream
  • Hard cheeses
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Foods containing coconut or palm oil.

Other lifestyle changes to make include quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol.

If you quit smoking not only will you reduce the rate your cholesterol rises, but you’ll also lower your risk of developing cancer and heart disease.

You can also take medicine to lower your cholesterol if it hasn’t gone down after making lifestyle changes or if you’re at high risk of heart attack or stroke.

The most common medicine used to treat high cholesterol are statins.

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